Monday, November 28, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Off to Class by Susan Hughes

Hughes explores schools around the world from a green school in Canada to an orphanage for street children in Honduras, from schools in caves to schools on water. Every school has one thing in common; working to help children grow, learn, and have a better life.

Teachers and students at these schools often face incredible challenges; poverty, weather, culture, and funding. The schools in this book are divided into three chapters, "Working with the environment" which showcases schools that face environmental challenges or focus on environmental concerns, "No school? No way!" which talks about schools that serve children who didn't previously have a school or are disadvantaged by poverty, gender, or tradition and "One size doesn't fit all" showing alternative schools that adapt to non-Western cultures, or unconventional philosophies.

Some of the interesting schools show in this book include:

Boat schools in Bangladesh that bring education to children in areas with frequent flooding.

Arthur Ashe charter school in New Orleans, which offers an edible schoolyard, and environmental education on caring for wetlands.

The Stung Mean Chey Center in Cambodia, which offers free schooling, school supplies, and a small amount of money and rice to the children who live in the slums around the dump, Stung Mean Chey.

The Dongzhong Primary School, serving some of the Miao people in China - and housed in a cave!

A school in Siberia that follows the nomadic Evenk people and teaches children to deal with the modern world as well as retain their heritage.

An unschooling family in the US who has school in a treehouse.

A specially designed school for the children with sensory impairments in Hazelwood, Scotland.

The text is written clearly and in short, readable sections with plenty of photographs and interesting facts. This is a great look at how children go to school around the world and well worth adding to your nonfiction collection.

Verdict: It's easy to be fascinated by other children's lives when they're as interesting as this book! Kids and parents will enjoy reading about the variety of school around the world and the excellent layout of the book makes it accessible and intruiging. Recommended.

ISBN: 978-1-9268863; Published August 2011 by OwlKids; Review copy provided by publisher; Purchased for the library


Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

My kids would love this - sixth graders are so curious about kids their age across the globe. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Thank you, Jennifer, for telling me about this book. I read it, loved it, and bought it for my library. It's full of information, but it's not so long that parents wouldn't want to read it with their children. A very good addition to my collection. :-)

Tammy Flanders said...

This sounds great. I can see some interesting tie-ins with the social studies curriculum.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Apples with Many Seeds

GatheringBooks said...

I just recalled that we also have a similar situation in my home country, the Philippines - the difficulties most children from remote provinces go through just for them to get an education. I would most definitely check out this book.

SusanHughes said...

Thanks so much for reviewing OFF TO CLASS! Readers wanting to learn more can check out my website to listen to radio excerpts from kids book clubs talk about the book with me!